Wales’ largest coworking space, the Welsh Innovation Centre for Enterprise has launched a new platform which will take its community online, as the business pivots during lockdown.

With businesses having to operate in a limited capacity during the Covid-19 pandemic and a further local lockdown, there was a strong demand from the community to maintain business support and the collaborative ethos of ICE, despite restrictions.

Businesses at Caerphilly-based ICE have, on average, a 77 per cent survival rate for three years or more, which is higher than the UK average of 61 per cent.

CEO of Welsh ICE, Jamie McGowan said: “The bricks and mortar aspect of ICE has always been important, but at the end of the day it is the people that form the community that make ICE what it is. A total of 74 per cent of members at ICE have developed formal agreements with each other, and that’s something that has continued into lockdown, even though they are not physically able to engage with one another.

“It sounds sentimental, but ICE really isn’t just a place to work. It is an ethos, it’s a live network of people working together, collaborating, and growing their businesses with the support of a collective experience of more than 700 people. That isn’t limited to being within 2 meters of each other anymore. It can happen anywhere there is the facility to do so, and that’s what gives us, a virtual working space that spans the country, not just Caerphilly.”

The platform gives members access to a library of workshops, document templates, service discounts and events, and perhaps most importantly, the ICE community itself.

Welsh ICE is one of five regional enterprise hubs across Wales, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government. The hubs will see over £4m invested to provide supportive spaces and mentoring for new and growing businesses, with the ICE Campus supporting the South East Wales Valleys region.